DIY Hand Sanitizer for the Flu Season

Time to come out of the cleaning closet: I’m not a big hand sanitizer user. Wait, I can do better than that: I have never used hand sanitizer.

It’s sticky, it reeks of alcohol, and most of the time I trust my immune system best when exposed to a mild amount of germs. Anything more than that is worth washing my hands, anyway. So, I saw a pin for DIY hand sanitizer – and yeah, I put it on the “SQUEE!” board, because I was pretty excited about the idea of being a little more soccer-mom-ish, doling out squirts of Purell. But, you know, with a dirty (clean?) little secret that it was homemade hippy stuff anyway.

Like most things, it was pinned and forgotten — until Hubs picked up the flu. This was a first for us, and I was not about to let one stupid little virus take down my family of 5, one sniffly, bedridden germ bomb at a time. Cue every home remedy and recipe flooding my brain at once.

So, on one of my many Emergen-C and juice runs, I picked up aloe gel and alcohol (of the rubbing variety..not drinking. Though if too many more of us get it, that might change…) and a couple of travel bottles. As an added boost, I set aside some of our essential oils and infusions, too.

Ingredients for Homemade Hand Sanitizer 

Rubbing Alcohol
Aloe Vera Gel
Essential Oils (I used Thieves’ Oil and Oregano Oil for exra Flu Season protection)

The  original post (which is ingenious and wonderful!) has it as equal parts alcohol and aloe vera, but a friend of mine said theirs evaporated too quickly, though she couldn’t remember if that was her ratio or not. So, I did a little more gel than alcohol, just in case, to hold it to your skin longer. Note: Read the comments below on the importance of the alcohol to aloe ratio. It looks like 60% alcohol is important. I’ll give it a shot on my next batch and see how it goes!

My oils of choice were Thieves’ Oil and Oregano Oil. I might have gone a little crazy with the Thieves’ Oil, at like 20-30 drops for the bottle. The stuff is amazing and super strong, though, so I’m betting less is fine. I also used about half a dropper of Oregano Oil.  Both are known to be antibacterial/antibiotic/antiviral. I mean, the Thieves blend was named for the legend that it protected thieves from the plague. The plague. I’m only worried about the flu, so I think we’re good.

**Disclaimer: Know your audience! No one is pregnant right now in this household, so we’re good with this blend. The bath blends for the flu season post has some other options for the flu season, too**

And that was it. Closed the lid, shook it up, and handed Hubs a bottle to use religiously and to take to work, then showed the kids how to use it and stuck it on the counter in plain sight. The end :) I won’t jinx anything and tell you our infected-vs-healthy ratio, but let’s just say I will now stay on the hand sanitizer band wagon all season long.

For added measure, I put 10-20 drops and a half-dropper of those same oils in a spritz bottle of water, and that has been spritzed onto toilet handles, surfaces, video game controllers, couches…I’m really glad this stuff smells good.

What are your tips and tricks for this flu season?

About BrannanS

Brannan Sirratt has written 40 posts in this blog.

With close to ten years of editing and website writing experience, I send my days writing content, proofreading and editing, collaborating with eBook and print book projects, studying herbalism, working case studies, and homeschooling. Jill of all trades and master of none - though ofttimes better than master of one!



  1. says

    I didn’t know about Thieves oil until now. I went and checked the ingredients; yeah, that will protect you from almost anything. I almost never use hand sanitizer but I also never even realized it would be so easy to make my own! I think I’ll try now.

  2. Dee says

    The final pecent of alcohol in this mixture will not work as a hand sanitizer. CDC (Center for Disease Control) has stated a minimum of 60% alcohol is required. Rubbing alcohol is usually 70% and when diluted 50/50 with aloe vera the final concentration would be around 35%. Studies done on hand sanitizers of varying % of alcohol acutally resulted in increased bacterial counts from low % products like the 30 to 40%. The studies were done by washing hands in sanitizer and then pressing the palm onto a petri dish and then comparing the resulting bacterial growth after 1 to 3 days. DIY hand sanitizer would be fine if you maintain 60% alcohol. Also it is worth mentioning water is an essential component because it is not the alcohol that kills the bacteria. The alcohol opens the cell wall causing it to absorb water till it explodes.

    • Portia Scholl says

      Yes I checked my commercial hand sanitizer and it does contain 62% Alcohol, also aloe and glycerin. The alcohol I have contains 50% so I would have to purchase one that contain a higher percentage of alcohol. Thank you Dee for your comments.

    • BrannanS says

      That is very good to know! Thank you so much. I will play with this and see how it can be worked out. I am still happy with the essential oils in it, but I’d like for the alcohol to be effective too, otherwise I could just use the water/oils spray.

  3. Annie Schiffmann says

    Love this! I noticed your disclaimer. FYI: I use Thieves oil from Young Living Essential Oils and it is safe for pregnant ladies. I’m currently six months pregnant with my second child and feel totally fine using it – I’ve checked with a couple of aromatherapists – and use this blend all of the time. You have to be a member of YL to order it, but if you need a referral number I can give you one.

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